Delivering a healthy baby is one of the most enjoyable experiences an expected mother can look forward to during her pregnancy. While most pregnancies end up with a positive outcome, occasionally a birth injury can occur. When a serious birth injury happens as a result of medical malpractice, the grieving family has the legal right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
There are many types of birth injuries that can happen because of medical malpractice; one of the most serious types is a brain injury. An injury to the brain can occur from either a lack of oxygen to the brain or trauma to the brain, before, during, or after delivery. A negligent obstetrician can cause a traumatic brain injury during a difficult instrumental delivery whereby the doctor uses too much force with the forceps or vacuum to extract the baby from the birth canal. Lack of oxygen to the brain can occur if there is a prolapse of the umbilical cord during delivery, a rupture of the uterus, separation of the placenta, or a variety of other causes.
In dangerous situations like this, the doctor must pay attention to the warning signs and act promptly to correct the problem should it occur. One method the doctor can use to detect problems like this is with the fetal heart rate monitor which monitors the infant's heart rate. If the infant's heart rate suddenly drops during labor or delivery for example, the fetal heart rate monitor will provide the medical staff with the warning signs. The doctor must act quickly to correct the problem or serious and permanent brain damage may occur to the infant, or the baby may die. In situations like this, the doctor may need to provide an emergency C-section.
If the doctors or nurses are negligent and fail to detect a problem and provide prompt action to correct the situation, the baby may be born with birth defects. Examples of birth defects that can occur because of medical malpractice include:
Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy refers to a variety of neurological disorders that permanently affect muscle coordination and body movement. Even though cerebral palsy affects muscle coordination, it is not caused by problems with the muscles or nerves themselves but rather by abnormalities in the parts of the brain that control muscle movement. Cerebral palsy can happen because of a significant lack of oxygen to the brain of the baby before, during, or after delivery, premature delivery, trauma, or certain types of infections with the central nervous system.
Developmental disabilities: Intellectual disability, developmental delay, developmental disability and mental retardation are terms referring to a person with significantly impaired cognitive functioning. If a child is significantly slower than other children of the same age in achieving developmental milestones such as walking, talking, or learning, these may be signs of developmental disabilities.
Kernicterus: Kernicterus is a form of brain damage that happens to a newborn baby with severe jaundice. Kernicterus can cause learning problems, developmental disabilities, movement difficulties, hearing loss, and vision problems. If bilirubin levels in the baby reach significantly elevated levels and spread into the brain tissue, this can cause kernicterus. It's important to understand that kernicterus is preventable by treating jaundice in the early stages before it becomes severe.
If your child suffered serious birth injuries because of medical malpractice, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact California medical malpractice lawyer Dr. Bruce Fagel right away for a free consultation.
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